2 Corinthians 5:17 – Jesus is the Hope for Change

Somewhere along the line, we have individualized the gospel. We said it was just about “you and Jesus.” We forgot that the gospel doesn’t just change eternal destinies; it changes everything. The gospel transforms societies, renews families, and heals relationships. That’s why Jesus called it “the gospel of the kingdom” (Luke 16:16). The gospel is all about the rule and reign of Jesus. And where Jesus is rightly honored as Lord, there is more than just personal salvation; there is redemptive action! The gospel is holistic. For me to say that I care about my disciple’s soul without caring about his relationship with his family would be the pinnacle of hypocrisy. The answer isn’t, “Get saved and then we’ll deal with your family relationships.” The answer is, “God wants to heal the wounds in your family. He is a redemptive God.”

Now ask yourself: How often do you connect your disciples’ life struggles to the gospel? If they are a Christian, we’d probably say: “Read this book on how to honor your father and mother,” or, “Do this Bible study on forgiveness,” or, “Just keep walking with Jesus and things will work out.” But gospel-centered discipleship asks these questions: How does the gospel need to be expressed in this situation? Or: What heart sin is at the root of the problem? Or: What gospel truth is not being believed or lived out?

This is what distinguishes biblical Christianity from pop psychology. Any pagan psychologist can say, “Control your anger; forgive each other; treat others with respect.” But what is it that gives the power to love or to forgive or to respect others? It’s the gospel!

What is it that keeps us from this sort of gospel-centered redemptive action? It’s a lack of belief in the gospel. When we really believe that God is for us, we don’t fear rejection by friends, family, and peers. We’re no longer living for their approval; we already have God’s approval. It’s what Paul was talking about when he said, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31) The gospel is what enables us to love dangerously, the way Jesus did. And dangerous love is what spurs effective evangelism, social justice, community, mission, and reconciliation.

Bob Thune

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Colossians 2:6-7 and notice where our hope for change comes from. As we walk through the next four weeks of this series, where is an area of your life where you need change? Is there perhaps even an area where you have struggled for a long time and perhaps don’t even believe there is hope for change?

In Christ Alone by Stuart Townend

Posted on: February 13, 2020 - 10:00PM

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